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Running 220 Well Pump with 110 Generator

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Its never easy.

We lose the power a lot at our new farm location due to overhead utility lines running down a very small tree-lined dirt road. Anyway, I don't mind the power outages too much as it is a chance to sit down and relax.

We do have to keep the freezers running for our beef and pork however, and it would be nice to run the well.

I bought a Craftsman 2500 watt generator with very low hours for short money. I know its small, but its not intended for heavy use...just a light or two, two very efficient freezers, and occasionally to fill the pressure tank for the well.

Power goes out yesterday and its the first chance to run the generator. D'oh! Well is 220V. Damn. We have a shallow well with a jet pump.

The thing that threw me off was that I borrowed a friends generator a while back, medium-sized Honda unit, which I am pretty sure only had 110. I didn't even check, just plugged it in and was off to the races with the well. Yesterday, before I realized my error, my little generator got way bogged down from the 220.

So I have two questions- A.) Did I hurt the generator? and;
B.) The pump manual says that the pump can be quickly rewired to 110. What are the advantages/disadvantages of doing this? Loss of power? Well pump is 1.25 hp. It seems generators with 220 are muy expensivo. Do I have any other options?

Thanks for any input.
post #2 of 16
Hopefully a real electrician will chime it. 220V is typically 3 hot legs/phases and a neutral. 110V is one hot and a neutral. Yes you should be able to rewire the pump for 110V - there should be a wiring diagram eeither on the pump or with the pump manual. Drawbacks - twice the amp draw from your generator from 220V to 110V for the same device. I forget the calculation for relating amps/volts/watts. Can your generator handle that? Pump will probably run cooler on 220V than it will on 110V. Feed wires may be hotter on 110V because of the increased amp draw. Disclaimer - I'm not an electrician but I know a few things. Double check everything you're told - lectricity is not something to fool with.
post #3 of 16
That pump type should be fine wired either way.

A 220V pump will run for a while on 110, but it will overheat pretty quickly, and you could damage the pump.

I ran one for about a week on one, and it would cut off after an hour or so of continuous use and then reset after about a half hour. Scared me a little, but that same pump is still going strong 3 years later.

HIGHLY recommend the Generac 4000XL generator. 6500 surge watts. Will run everything, but the hot water heater, and will run that too, if you shut off everything else. This unit is also safe for computers and sensitive electronics, due to AVR. Runs for over 3 hours PER GALLON, which means a LOT when things get tough. Pressurized lubrication and filter for long life. VERY easy to start. Even my wife has no trouble, and she is NOT a physical person at all.

I ran an office trailer with AC and computers wiht one of these for 16 hrs a day for TWO YEARS, and never even a hiccup. Impressed the heck out of me, and it's still running strong, years later. It is $699, I believe, at generatorsdirect.com.

Definitely worth the money.

-TH
post #4 of 16
A motor running on 220 uses approximately 1/2 the amperage as a motor running on 110. Its will cost the same as it is wattage you pay for. It will also loose some of its torque and may not start because its lost 1/2 it power to start. It needs 2 hot wires and a ground to work.
post #5 of 16
Because your 1.5 hp motor probably draws 12 to 15 amps at 220 volts it will want to draw 20 or more at 110 volts.

Two things will happen if you try to run that motor on 110 without rewiring it.

1. you will sooner or later burn it up.

2. you will sooner or later burn the gererator up also.

(Sooner would be my guess)

Look at the motor nameplate and note what the FLA ( full load amp ) rating is and get a generator rated higher than that. multiply the amp rating by the voltage used to get watts needed.

IE. 15 amps @ 220 Volts = 3300 watts
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thill
That pump type should be fine wired either way.

A 220V pump will run for a while on 110, but it will overheat pretty quickly, and you could damage the pump.

I ran one for about a week on one, and it would cut off after an hour or so of continuous use and then reset after about a half hour. Scared me a little, but that same pump is still going strong 3 years later.

HIGHLY recommend the Generac 4000XL generator. 6500 surge watts. Will run everything, but the hot water heater, and will run that too, if you shut off everything else. This unit is also safe for computers and sensitive electronics, due to AVR. Runs for over 3 hours PER GALLON, which means a LOT when things get tough. Pressurized lubrication and filter for long life. VERY easy to start. Even my wife has no trouble, and she is NOT a physical person at all.

I ran an office trailer with AC and computers wiht one of these for 16 hrs a day for TWO YEARS, and never even a hiccup. Impressed the heck out of me, and it's still running strong, years later. It is $699, I believe, at generatorsdirect.com.

Definitely worth the money.

-TH


THill- I've done my research better this time and come to the same conclusion as you. Just found a lightly used one on Craig's List for $375. Going to go with it. Thanks.
post #7 of 16
jeff, those pumps will run on either and it's an easy fix. some as simple as a switch depending on the age. pull the motor cover off, and inside will be a schematic on how to change to 110v. usally just a screw and a wire.
post #8 of 16
the 220 you have in your home is not 3 phase. it is from a center tap transformer. the white wire is the center tap. this along with a red or black will give 110. the red and black together will give 220.

x 110 x 110 x
x 220 x

kinda like that. as coppertrout says most of those motors are dual voltage, just make sure you have a big enough generator.
post #9 of 16
Farmer Jeff,
Congrats on the find, and hope you got a good one! I'm always a little leery of used stuff until I've run it awhile, and know I can trust it.

Make sure to put stabilizer in the gas if you won't use it monthly. Starting monthly is also a good idea, particularly in the winter time.

Another good thing about having a 220V machine, is you can feed it into your main panel box and run the entire house. That's what I do...

Best wishes.

-TH
post #10 of 16
Hi, this is my first post as I have enjoyed all the great information posted.

Just to put my 2cents in, when installing a generator to supply the whole house from the entrance panel, be carefull of back feed through the power lines. You must have a break to not allow power to back feed through the lines. Without it, you could seriously hurt your local power line guy in the event he is working on your lines while assuming your end of the service is not hot. Line breaks for generator hook ups for safety are sold at most hardwares.

Good luck and thank you all for the great post as we share our knowledge.

flip24

PS happy New Year!
post #11 of 16
flip has hit it on the head. You can kill a lineman by backfeeding a panel. I had an electrician install a transfer switch with a fail-safe cutoff. A guy two houses down is a local lineman, and he was grateful that I had spent the money to have it done right.
post #12 of 16
Thanks guys !! local lineman here I've seen the fireball that can happen from feedback and hope never have to see it again.
post #13 of 16

It's not good to change the motor so that it runs on 110v because the wire going to it is usually quite long...100ft or so...and thin (less copper)  it can carry the 220v at maybe 20 amps but probably doesn't have the capacity to carry 40 amps at 110v.

The formula is Amps X Volts = Watts....the wattage of the motor might be about 4,000 and that number doesn't change by re-wiring the motor but the wire limits the amperage to maybe 20 amps....unless you upgrade the wiring to #8 do not make it a 110v motor, you'll burn out the motor because the wire can't deliver the right wattage.

 

A better way to handle this is to install a step-up transformer, 110v to 220v, costs less than $100, just for the well pump.and of course it should be wired at a transfer switch, automatic or manual is OK, the point is that it isolates the generator power from the utility power.

Any questions...call your local electrician............... 

Tony

post #14 of 16
Just to prevent any back feed, I had electrical company come in and install another complete box, also bought 22 Ft of 10/4 ($100.00) wire to put generator out side garage door,Perhaps just my unit ,but my Generator manual states not to start or stop generator with a load on it .
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by GnrtrAltrnative View Post

It's not good to change the motor so that it runs on 110v because the wire going to it is usually quite long...100ft or so...and thin (less copper)  it can carry the 220v at maybe 20 amps but probably doesn't have the capacity to carry 40 amps at 110v.
The formula is Amps X Volts = Watts....the wattage of the motor might be about 4,000 and that number doesn't change by re-wiring the motor but the wire limits the amperage to maybe 20 amps....unless you upgrade the wiring to #8 do not make it a 110v motor, you'll burn out the motor because the wire can't deliver the right wattage.

A better way to handle this is to install a step-up transformer, 110v to 220v, costs less than $100, just for the well pump.and of course it should be wired at a transfer switch, automatic or manual is OK, the point is that it isolates the generator power from the utility power.
Any questions...call your local electrician............... 
Tony

I agree not only with the above but the I squared R losses will be much greater and there's the chance of burning up the wire assuming the circuit breaker doesn't trip. And as a wire heats up the I squared R losses increase. Vicious cycle so to speak. Step up the voltage with a hefty transformer if you can .
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